3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: A New Year sermon to point out that God is at work in our lives to do NEW things in our lives.

1. Roman god, Janus (from whom we get January) was their god of beginnings, transition, passages, and endings. He is depicted with a face looking forward and a face looking back.

2. New Year Customs

• Those inventive people, the Italians, have a custom. As midnight on New Year’s Eve approaches, the streets are clear. There is no traffic; there are no pedestrians; even the policemen take cover. Then, at the stroke of 12, the windows of the houses fly open. To the sound of laughter, music and fireworks, each member of the family pitches out old crockery, detested ornaments, hated furniture and a whole catalogue of personal possessions which remind them of something in the past year they are determined to wipe out of their minds.

• Resolutions: “A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

o Have you ever noticed how self-centered most of our resolutions are?

o What if we resolve to walk closer to God this year?

3. The Bible gives us much “New”:

Creatures; Hearts; Beginnings; Insights; Relationships; Bodies; Heaven and Earth; Song; Life; Covenant; Name; Birth; Wine and Wineskins;

4. This time of the year is a challenge to the Newness of the year before us.

5. Isaiah 43.18-19

18 “Remember not the former things,

nor consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.

I. The Place of the Old in Our Lives (Isaiah 43.18)

A. The Past/Old is Our Rudder to Guide Us

1. It is the purpose of learning – 2 Timothy 2.2

a. We learn from mistakes – ours and others’

b. “All I really need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten” Robert Fulghum

1. Share everything.

2. Play fair.

3. Don't hit people.

4. Put things back where you found them.

5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.

2. It is why we study the scriptures – even the history

B. The Past/Old is Our Foundation Upon Which We Build – 1 Corinthians 3.11

11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1. We can build a country without our Constitution, but it won’t be America

2. We can build a life based on something other than the Bible, but we won’t be of God

C. The Past/Old is NOT Our Home

1. “Remember” – call to mind; make a memorial – can be an obsession

2. So God warns us about looking back:

• Lot’s wife – Genesis 19.26; Luke 17.32

• “Plowing” – Luke 9.62 “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Ecclesiastes 7.10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”

For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

II. The Place of the New in Our Lives (Isaiah 43.19)

A. God Majors in the NEW

1. He is constantly creating (cycle of seasons, etc.)

2. God called Abram to a new land with a new beginning and continues calling us to the new

3. Colossians 3.1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

B. How do We Embrace God’s New? Philippians 3.10-14

1. Get to know Jesus better – Philippians 3.10

2. Admit our brokenness – Philippians 3.12

3. Forget the old – Philippians 3.13

• Anger/remorse/regret/ won’t change the past

• “Cut it down and forget it.”

4. Go for the New thing God is doing – Philippians 3.14; Isaiah 43.19

19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

a. Desert people – Abram; Hebrews; John the Baptist; Jesus; Paul; US

b. God is greater than the desert – rivers and roads

1. What if we make ONE resolution this year? To let God work out the NEW in my life?

2. How?

c. Put the past behind us and lean into the new

d. By a faith that embraces the same power that raised Jesus from the dead

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